Tag Archives: featured

Airdog’s new ADII is the new drone for action sports athletes

Airdog captured athletes’ imaginations with its initial Airdog drone that hit shelves in 2015. It marketed itself as a follow-me drone, able to track athletes whether they were surfing, skiing, biking, or even just walking — as long as they wore the tracking device.

Airdog today announced the drone’s successor, the ADII — yet another autonomous, follow-me drone. This time, it’s taking what the creator’s learned last time and making improvements — and at a lower price tag for consumers.

airdog adii

Most drones today depend on the user holding an RC transmitter and controlling its flights with the stick, but the ADII (and the original Airdog before it) is different. To fly the ADII drone, users wear a waterproof “AirLeash” tracking device that looks like a large watch. It has simple controls that allow the user to select various modes, including a “scenic mode”, which captures me in a selfie mode and then flies backwards, panning out to capture the broader landscape around me.

airdog adii airleash the drone girl
The Airleash

The ADII drone “follows you” based on a few different modes. There’s something called “adaptive follow mode,” which means that you can set the drone in front of you like a selfie, and if you turn, the drone will pull around to always remain positioned in front of you. There’s a circle mode so the drone will circle around you while following you for a more cinematic shot, and there’s a fixed follow mode which is like the traditional follow-me mode on most drones.

The ADII also comes with a new customizable flight path feature, which allows the drone to fly a pre-programmed flight path while still following you and keeping you framed in the shot. This feature could be used as a guaranteed obstacle avoidance, in situations where the user might traveling past trees or buildings and you want to ensure the drone doesn’t crash into it.

Unlike the drones that need to keep eyes on the person in order to “follow them,” this drone follows the flight path it was assigned, and detects the speed at which to fly based on the AirLeash, allowing the user to bike through trees or skateboard under a bridge and the drone won’t lose sight of the person — and won’t crash either.

Like its predecessor, this drone also folds up so it can tuck into a backpack. The Airdog ADII markets itself as the first auto-flying drone camera technology that lets you go hands-free, meaning that other drone cameras are still manually piloted with “follow-me” added as a feature to assist the pilot with capturing motion shots.

Whether that’s a good or bad thing is up to you; this drone won’t be coming with an RC transmitter to allow ultra-precise flight navigating over forests and oceans.the drone girl adii airdog

The ADII depends on a GoPro camera, sold separately,  meaning it could be a great product for someone who already has a GoPro — but could get costly for someone who would need to buy that too. GoPro’s Hero5 Black, which shoots 4K video and has an LCD so users can view their video on the camera, costs $399.

The ADII launches on Kickstarter July 11 and is expected to deliver to people who pre-order by August. The ADII will start on Kickstarter at $999, and the price will go up after the Kickstarter campaign is complete.


Blueye’s Christine Spiten thinks underwater drones will save our oceans

Blueye Robotics co-founder Christine Spiten loves the oceans. She lives on a boat, she’s traveled by boat across the Atlantic ocean, and she even is a 2007 Norwegian Champion in Sailing. Naturally, she’s behind a new underwater drone with the intent to explore the ocean.

The Norway-based robotics company Blueye today launched a drone called ‘The Pioneer’, which can go up to 150 meters down (that’s 8x the depth an average scuba diver can go).

I chatted with the company’s co-founder, 27-year-old Christine Spiten, to find out what the drone is all about.

Christine holds a M.Sc in Industrial Economics and Technology Management from the Norwegian University of Life Sciences and Robotics from UFRJ in Rio, Brazil. She was also named one of Norway’s 50 most important female tech founders 2017.

The Blueye Pioneer underwater drone.

Drone Girl: Most of us think of a flying robot when we hear the word drone, but it applies to underwater robots too sometimes! How is the Pioneer different or similar to what we’re used to?

Christine Spiten:  The underwater drone is much like an aerial drone. You control it from your own smart device — tablet smartphone or computer. It’s like flying an aerial drone — but I think it’s even easier to ‘fly.’

The biggest difference between an underwater and an aerial drone is you get to see a part of the world that you’ve never been able to see before. You become a real explorer.

DG: What kind of background led you to the underwater drone industry?

CS: I had an internship for an oil company back in 2012, while I was still a student. We did a project on environmental monitoring subsea. We used huge, traditional ROVs (remotely operated underwater vehicles). They were complex and clunky. I was thinking about how other electronics are more available for regular consumers. Why isn’t there a smart version of these ROVs to allow regular people to become explorers? Continue reading Blueye’s Christine Spiten thinks underwater drones will save our oceans

Drone mapping: what’s the difference between drone spatial resolution vs. accuracy?

“We can get 1cm with our drone!”

Have you heard someone in the drone industry say something similar to this?  For drone mapping professional Jon Ellinger, the creator of TLT Photography, which specializes in aerial surveys, geospatial data processing and fine photography, he gets it a lot.

So much so, that Ellinger wrote up a great guide to what spatial resolution really means, as well as understanding the difference between spatial resolution vs. accuracy. Here goes:


With affordable drones such as the GoPro Karma, and DJI Mavic and Spark becoming accessible to people of all educational backgrounds it makes sense that there is sometimes confusion about what the specifications of the drone really mean.  Unless you have a geography background, are an avid photographer, or someone who works with geospatial data regularly you may not realize what a vague statement that is.  Grab a coffee and let me explain… Continue reading Drone mapping: what’s the difference between drone spatial resolution vs. accuracy?

DJI Spark Review: An amazing, low-cost drone (90% of the time)

Looking for a good-quality camera drone that costs less than $500? Without a question, it’s the DJI Spark.

But hold on. Is it a perfect drone? No. But is it the first major step in an extraordinary era of ultra-smart sensors in drones? Absolutely.

The $499 Spark was announced in May 2017 as DJI’s smallest drone to-date — addressing concerns (much like the Mavic), that drones like the Phantom and from non-DJI competitors are just too cumbersome to tote around.

See related: DJI Mavic vs. Spark — which is better?

The Spark is notable for two reasons: 1. It’s incredibly small — (it’s small enough to fit in a large coat pocket) and 2. It’s operated primarily via gesture control, meaning a sensor can recognize hand and body patterns, and fly in sync with your movements.

And then for the bad news (as we get to the not perfect aspect of the DJI Spark): that gesture control. The drone’s sensors are supposed to detect its user’s body movements such as raising and lowering your hands or waving them, as pictured in the video above. It then can interpret those gestures to follow commands such as flying up and down, or taking a picture. Continue reading DJI Spark Review: An amazing, low-cost drone (90% of the time)

Intel drones are coming to the next Olympics

You’ve seen those Intel light drones making shapes in the sky at Coachella, the Super Bowl and Walt Disney World. And now, they’re headed to the Olympics.

Intel announced on Wednesday that it would partner with the International Olympic Committee through 2024. Intel is bringing a variety of its new technology to the Olympics, including its virtual reality and 360-degree technology, and of course, drones.

“Intel drone light show technology will create never-seen-before images in the sky,” according to a statement issued Wednesday by Intel. Continue reading Intel drones are coming to the next Olympics

How Cirque du Soleil pulled off an act using multiple drones on stage every night

Cirque du Soleil is no stranger to mind-boggling acts. But getting 8 drones to fly in sync with each other in a routine every night on stage on Broadway? That’s a feat.

The Broadway incarnation of Cirque du Soleil called “Paramour” included drones disguised as lampshades, dancing around the stage.

The drones, which performed in more than 398 live performances with more than 7,000 autonomous take-offs, flights and landings, were built by Swiss-based company Verity Studios.

Cirque du Soleil paramour drones verityI spoke with Verity Studios’s Christian Hugo Hoffmann, who is an AI and robotics enthusiast with a background and PhD in Economics and Strategy, currently responsible for strategy and finance at Verity Studios AG, to find out how they did it:

Drone Girl: This is incredible! How did you even get linked up with Cirque to begin with? Continue reading How Cirque du Soleil pulled off an act using multiple drones on stage every night

Edgybees sets the next trend in drones — turning them into games

Most people think of using drones for photography, for commercial purposes like inspections or mapping, for delivery, or for humanitarian purposes (like gathering whale snot!).

Then there’s another branch of drones: the racing community — people who race drones, use them for aerial tricks and even participate in drone combat.

But go beyond that, and there will soon be people who are using drones as a real life video game. That’s all due to Edgybees, an Israel-based augmented reality drone technology company.edgybees drone augmented reality game dji

Edgybees announced what it claims to be the first-ever augmented reality game for DJI drones, which has pilots flying their drones  literally through the air, but virtually through their choice of 30 virtual obstacle courses in the sky.

Continue reading Edgybees sets the next trend in drones — turning them into games

So what airspace CAN I fly in while using a drone in San Francisco?

Next up in our “Ask Drone Girl” series is about finding where you can legally fly your drone — specifically in San Francisco. If you have a question for Drone Girl, contact her here.

I’m going to San Francisco for a wedding at the end of May. I wanted to bring my drone and capture some shots of such a beautiful city. However, it seems like just about everything is restricted. Can you recommend some good safe places to fly out there? I’d hate to bring it all the way out there just to find out I can’t fly it anywhere.


Hey Dan,

Welcome in advance to San Francisco, and I’m thrilled to hear you want to take pictures of the beautiful city that I live in.

You are right — a LOT of places that our totally incredible also fall in restricted airspace. Most of the beach area on the western side of the city is part of a National Park, as well as the Presidio and Alcatraz. Then, you’ve got the airport down in the southern part of the city which prevents you from flying, as well as Oakland airport on the opposite side of the bay should you want to fly there. Continue reading So what airspace CAN I fly in while using a drone in San Francisco?